International Day of Peace 2021

International Day of Peace 2021

On this #InternationalDayOfPeace 2021, a day set for strengthening the ideal of peace through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire, we as the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) take stock of the threats to peace, security and stability on the continent.

Between 2020 and 2021, a total of 4 military coups d'etat and 2 attempted coups have been recorded.  The two coups in Mali in August 2020 and May 2021 respectively; the covert coup in Chad in May 2021 following the death of President Idriss Deby; the Guinea coup that deposed Conde in September 2021 as well as the failed coup in Niger in March 2021 and the most recent attempted failed coup in Sudan last night. These unconstitutional changes of government and attempted military take overs are the most imminent threat to sustainable peace and security in Africa.

While peace efforts of yesteryear require not only our applaud but compel for further reading in order to reflect on some of the historical lessons, this month's coup in Guinea and last night's failed coup in Sudan serve as latest examples that #InternationalDayOfPeace should be commemorative rather than celebratory.

Insurgency and violent extremism in the Sahel region, Northern Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin countries as well as Somalia, Kenya, northern Mozambique are also a disturbing threat to human rights, peace and stability transcending national and regional borders in a number of sub-regions on the continent.

Imminent threats to peace and stability on the continent also include the issue of #ClimateChange. Therefore, as we recognize #InternationalPeaceDay let us deliberately posit #ClimateEmergency as a threat to peace. Failure to consider growing impacts of #ClimateChange will undermine efforts at conflict prevention, peacebuilding, risks trapping vulnerable countries in vicious cycle of climate disaster and conflict.

The work of CSVR has shown that at the root cause of the above-mentioned threats to peace and stability on the continent include socio-economic factors such as poverty, corruption and inequality, marginalisation of citizens especially youth when it comes to development as well as governance and democratic processes, unresolved collective trauma of the past that continues to haunt the present and threaten a peaceful future. Issues of poor governance, impunity, authoritarian and undemocratic leadership and inefficient accountability mechanisms have also led to civil unrests and violence, thus making further inroads into the continental investments and commitments to achieving peace as enshrined in the AUTJP, Agenda 2063 and Silencing the Guns by 2020 that has now been extended to 2030.

In order to address some of these issues, the African Union Transitional Justice Policy (AUTJP) should remain as a guiding blueprint in facilitating peaceful transitions through multi-actor coordination and cooperation.

On this day, it is also important to understand the importance of trauma-informed and victim centred policy formulation and implementation. This is because intergenerational trauma often outlives political processes leading to peace and stability. Multi-pronged responses to conflict and the above-mentioned threats are therefore imperative.

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CSVR is a multi-disciplinary institute that seeks to understand and prevent violence, heal its effects and build sustainable peace at the community, national and regional levels.

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